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Peabody Essex Museum
161 Essex Street
Salem, MA 01970

The museum is open Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays 10 am–5 pm, Fridays 10 am-7 pm and holiday Mondays.

Adults $20, seniors (65 and over) $18, students (with ID) $12, youth (16 and under) and Salem residents free

Please note: Due to health safety protocols, capacity is limited in The Great Animal Orchestra exhibition. Visitors may experience long wait times, especially on the weekends. Masks are required for group tours and public programs and encouraged for all visitors.

Reserve your tickets in advance at or by calling 978-542-1511.

Power and Perspective: Early Photography in China

September 24, 2022-April 2, 2023

Power and Perspective: Early Photography in China explores how the camera transformed the way we imagine China. Photography’s development as a new form of art and technology in the 19th century coincided with profound changes in the way China engaged with the world. The medium evolved in response to war, trade, travel, and a desire for knowledge about an unfamiliar place.

John Thomson, Curio Shop, 1868–72, albumen print, Gift of George J. Harrington Jr., 1993, PH27.26

The exhibition features 130 photographs in dialogue with paintings, decorative arts, and prints drawn largely from PEM’s outstanding collections with select loans from public and private collections. Power and Perspective provides a rich account of the exchanges between photographers, artists, patrons and subjects in treaty port China, offering a vital reassessment of the colonial legacy of the medium. By calling attention to the power dynamics at play, the exhibition sheds light on photography as an inherently social medium that continues to shape our perspectives today.

A major publication, distributed by Yale University Press, accompanies the exhibition.

Ongoing Exhibitions

Asian Export Art
Beginning in the 16th century, many luxuries made in Asia such as translucent Chinese porcelain, fine Indian textiles, and glittering Japanese lacquer were superior to anything the rest of the world could produce. Merchants across the globe went to great lengths to acquire these spectacular commodities. Now known as Asian export art, these objects connected societies and created a complex global economy that continues to shape our world to this day. PEM’s Asian Export Art collection, foremost in the world, explores cross-cultural exchange as a catalyst for creativity and celebrates the interplay of commerce and creative expression. The gallery features more than 200 works of art made in diverse media by artists in China, Japan, and South Asia.

South Asian Art
Following independence from British Rule in 1947, artists in India aimed to uncover a visual language that was uniquely Indian in inspiration to convey their experiences, struggles, ambitions and dreams. Bridging myth with social and political history, the new Chester and Davida Herwitz Gallery tells the story of nation-building and self-discovery through works by India's most celebrated artistic geniuses of the 20th century.

The new Prashant H. Fadia Foundation and Deshpande Foundation Gallery features a selection of objects from PEM's extensive collection of historical material from India. Focused primarily on the 19th century, the gallery considers India's long and complex history of foreign occupation, and its troubling impact on the representation of Indian people in art. Featuring some of the earliest objects to come to PEM, including unfired clay sculpture, mica paintings and kalighat paintings, the gallery considers and questions the timeless tropes of India that persist even today.

Double Happiness: Celebration in Chinese Art
Come and experience the liveliness of a drinking party, the opulence of a royal wedding and poetic evocation of spring on a delicate dish. With more than 30 highlights from the museum's wide-ranging Chinese collection spanning 3,000 years, this exhibition celebrates China's artistic achievements crystallized in seasonal festivals, religious ceremonies and celebrations. Discover plants and animals, myths and symbols and decipher the Chinese character for "Double Happiness." Located in the YYT Interpretive Gallery.

Japanomania: Japanese Art Goes Global
Discover the beauty and complex stories behind PEM’s celebrated Japanese export art collection. The new installation takes visitors on a journey through time — from the arrival of Portuguese merchants in the 1500s through Japan’s emergence on the world stage in the late 19th century and beyond. Throughout, the story is punctuated with stunning works of art, including extraordinary loans from a private collection and many objects on view for the first time since PEM’s 2016 exhibition Asia in Amsterdam. Located in the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation Gallery.

Powerful Figures
Powerful Figures features sculptures from disparate cultures around the world and across time that embody the dual concepts of power, as both a fundamental social dynamic and part of our innate wiring to respond to figures and faces. Curved niches encourage visitors to engage with each artwork, decluttering the field of view and focusing attention. Poetically concise labels heighten the emotional tenor of the experience. Located in the Louise du Pont Crowninshield Gallery.

Anila Quayyum Agha: All the Flowers Are for Me
Persian and Turkish architecture, textiles and miniature paintings inspire the precise, stylized floral forms that compose Anila Quayyum Agha’s sculptural chamber of light and shadow. This luminous installation provides an opportunity to contemplate the differences and commonalities that shape our lives and relationships. Originally from Lahore, Pakistan, and now living in the US, Agha is acutely attuned to the social codes that inform the lives of Muslim women and all immigrants. She describes this work as her effort to create a sense of how women can reclaim and safely open up private space to welcome others. Located in the Wheatland Family Gallery.

Japanese Art
PEM’s remarkably long relationship with Japan extends back more than 200 years. Encompassing everyday objects and the fine arts, the museum’s Japanese collection is distinguished for its range, from paintings and sculpture to decorative arts and costumes and textiles. Spanning northern Hokkaido to Okinawa in the south, and prehistoric periods to the present, these objects illuminate the varied artistic and cultural traditions of this country.

Toward the end of the 19th century, Edward Sylvester Morse, director of the Peabody Academy of Science (a precursor to PEM), became one of the first Western scholars to visit Japan after it opened to travelers. Morse was highly influential in encouraging American interest in Japanese art and culture, and helped create this remarkable Japanese collection.